NASA has recently announced that it will be reuniting with SpaceX in a joint water study mission which will send a satellite up in space so as to survey Earth’s oceans.
NASA and SpaceX are by no means at their first collaboration. The two state and private space agencies have worked together on quite a number of missions.
One such mission is the TESS or Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite project. TESS will seek to find and determine if there are any transiting exoplanets in the orbits of our nearby bright stars.
Their latest joint mission will be a lot closer to home as it will be turning its eye towards Earth. More exactly, it will be a water study mission called SWOT.
SWOT or the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission is set to launch from the California-based Vandenberg Air Force Base sometimes in April 2021.
SpaceX is a privately-owned space company which has been involved in a quite a number of space mission as its rockets were used even in supply restock journeys.
The latest water study mission, SWOT will have a complex, comprehensive nature. Earlier this year, in January, SpaceX helped launch NASA’s ocean monitoring satellite which is also known as Jason-3.
The Jason-3 is an international ocean observation satellite which studies the ocean circulations, the water’s level rises and also its surface height.
SWOT will be a more complex and detailed project when compared to Jason-3. The latest water study mission will seek to measure and register the fine details of the surface topography of our oceans.
It will also contribute to the study of the changes taking place in our planetary water systems as it will be measuring how they have changed over time.
SWOT will not be limited just to Earth’s oceans or seas. The water study mission will be analyzing all of the planet’s lakes, wetland, and natural water reservoirs.
This should help to the scientists’ better understanding and analysis of the global dynamics of our planet’s surface waters.
The worldwide high-resolution spatial measurements taken by SWOT should also help complete the Jason-3 project.
As the latter mission will register ocean circulation trends, SWOT should complete them by creating or improving the existing circulation models.
The improvements brought to these models could have important consequences on the weather prediction systems.
Faster, more accurate weather models should lead to better, more efficient climate and weather predictions.
The circulation improvements will be based on the SWOT’s more than 90 percent coverage of the surface of the planet.
The SpaceX aircraft will be programmed so as to send observations at least twice in a 21 days time period. This should also help freshwater management systems around the world.
Although no official numbers have been released, the new water study mission was approximated to cost about $112 million.
Gwynne Shotwell, the SpaceX president has expressed the agency’s excitement in having been chosen for the new mission.
Shotwell declared that SpaceX appreciates the chance and confidence offered by NASA when choosing them as the carrier for this important national and international mission.
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